Monday, June 20, 2022

Fire, again

The beautiful places are so altered. The Tunnel Fire took so much. We thought it was our primary "natural" disaster for this year. We set ourselves into the process of recovery and focused on rebuilding a community that refused to be defeated. We made preparations for flood waters coming out of the burn scar. 

Then, the carelessness and abject irresponsibility of one person started a spark that lit the forests on fire again, and on day 1 of three solid days of heavy winds. The Pipeline Fire didn't destroy the amount of houses and personal property as the Tunnel Fire destroyed, but it ripped across the entire East Side of the San Francisco Peaks, carving out beloved Weatherford canyon, crawling up Doyle Peak and Fremont Peak, and making a run for our Inner Basin. The firefighters valiantly fought along the Inner Basin line, and though it burned out one of the ridges and into the Basin, they were ultimately successful in saving it. We still have Lockett Meadow. 

It jumped Highway 89, again, in multiple places and gobbled up the hills I have crawled all over and know as well as my own reflection in the mirror. By some absolute miracle my hill and my beloved tree have survived, like an umbrella was placed over them. More on that later... it is still not fully out of danger. 

Because the fire reopened the burn scar from the 2010 Schultz Fire, and gobbled up so much more beyond that, our risk for flooding has increased exponentially. We have 5 days of rain predicted this week and I find myself approaching the prediction with trepidation. The boys and I have loaded and placed 12 flatbed trailers full of sandbags in the past three days. We used some on our houses, but they still had cement walls (Jersey barriers) in place from the Schultz Fire flood prep, so we didn't need as many as we would have otherwise. Many neighbors needed assistance, though, and I was so proud of my little men who put their hearts fully into the task at hand and worked harder than most adults I know. They showed their love through actions and displayed incredible strength. While we were loading the trailer I saw them looking around and if there were others who were elderly, or alone, they trotted over and immediately pitched in to assist in loading with that person. We still have a few neighbors to assist, but our community is further along in preparation than we were. None of us really know just how bad it will be or whether or not our preparations will be sufficient. 

The boys came home from sandbagging and made 100 chocolate chip cookies (Buni's recipe!) for the firefighters and delivered them to the firefighter camp just as all the guys were coming in from a long day. There were a lot of smiles.

In the horror of the blackened scene, there are some strange positives. The green is popping up on the ground floor of the Tunnel Fire scar. The Schultz Fire had replaced the thick green forest of the mountainside with blackened snags - the Pipeline Fire orchestrated a masterful cleanup of the 12 year old residue from the previous fire and in some ways our mountain resembles a canvas awaiting the painter's mastery. 

These pics were from yesterday

The raw beauty cannot be diminished... 

I still cannot believe that this place has survived two fires in two months. #gratefulbeyondmeasure #myhearthouse

So... onward. I do not anticipate tomorrow, but I will take the next step toward it because I must. We all must. I am glad that I do not know what the future holds; I am not strong enough for that. I believe His strength prevails when we walk in the dark places to what's ahead, even if it's to still darker places. There is a certain breaking in us that shapes us and molds us and makes us stronger. Our world is constantly changing. Seasons come and go and in each season we are also changed. We must look forward and keep walking or we will miss the splendor of Autumn. 

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